We are always on the lookout for new and creative uses of the GoPro camera and Bremen-based journalist and photographer Jonas Grinter’s videos of tiny planet worlds certainly are different. All you need are six GoPros and a 3D printer…
The tiny planet stye has become quite a popular one in recent years, cropping up in everything from video games to ads for energy companies. Creating spherical panoramas, to give them their technical term, is fairly simple: take a panoramic photo, crop it, adjust it (keep the middle section busy and the top and bottom quarters fairly light on detail) then simply run the Polar Coordinates filter of Photoshop CS or The Gimp to create a circular image that seems to wrap the panorama around a planet.
And that’s the complex route. You can even download an app for 99 cents called, with admirable directness, Tiny Planet Photos that will do it for you.
Grinter, however, encountered problems when trying to move the technique on to videos. “I've screwed my cameras on to a turntable and spent nights trying to take thousands of pictures,” he writes in German. “Didn’t work. I have looked at strange designs with mirrors and frustrated found them to be absolute nonsense. Piece by piece though came the realisation that I can realise 360 degree videos only when I capture the image in one take. So the logical conclusion was: many cameras.”
He identified the GoPro as providing a decent enough viewing angle that six of them could provide the required 360° coverage horizontally and 180° vertically, but just couldn’t find the appropriate way to hold them together.
“I have unsuccessfully experimented with rubber bands, cable ties, wood and polystyrene. Only with the construction of a support which was printed on a 3D printer did worked satisfactorily.”
It’s an impressive bit of video but Grinter has no intention of stopping there. “I see potential in time-lapse and in the next few weeks will take six small cameras out into the fresh air and start to bend the time.”